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senior al qaeda leaders and no warning since the killing of osama bin laden in may of 2011. something serious they've heard. i also think this is the reaction of the benghazi scandal. the administration does want to look like it's lax on security and not being aggressive enough. i think they're also being very, very broad in terms of shutting down so many embassies to be careful politically. >> if something else were to happen, of course, a lot of people critical of not having done enough. mark, i want to turn to you on this. we heard a lot over the last decade about how much al qaeda has been weakened by the war on terror, but does this contradict that? do these closures suggest they are stronger than we've been led to believe? >> i don't want to say it's contradicted and david has put his finger on it. the fact of the matter is we've always known despite the killing of osama bin laden that there's been a series of franchise organizations directly related to al qaeda. they've been in the caucuses in the north africa and the al qaeda which committed attacks in amgeria, as well as in l
complicated, because pre-9/11 it was pretty much just afghanistan. it was osama bin laden, and al qaeda senior leadership. that has since spread to somalia, yemen. we have problems in mali now. there are cells in different places. but we also have many, many more assets that we have brought to bear to try to contain them. to try to take out their leadership and try to undermine their plans. so they are still a threat. i would not agree that they're stronger than pre-9/11. >> and one of the theories is that one of the reasons we're seeing these threats right now is in that there's a lot of anger behind recent drone attacks in some of the parts of the world where the embassies are being closed, particularly in yemen. do you think that the use of these drones, so commonly in that part of the world, is actually fueling more anti-american sentiment, that's ultimately making us less safe in those areas? >> well, i mean, it's hard to say. because on the one hand there's no question that the drone strikes have made us more safe. in one very clear way, they've undermined the ability of these folks to p
aggressive when you look on the policy of drones, going in and getting osama bin laden, something the bush administration failed to do. and he's alsoing more cautious. if you look at the way we dealt with libya and egypt, sort of backing off and sort of supporting what we saw as the goals of the arab street without putting boots on the ground, so this president who was famously cautious about iraq is now in an awkward position. the things we were told about saddam hussein are actually true in libya, and we have this caution. >> we are talking about the republicans in their her to the president, a lot of people were questioning where they were yesterday at the march on washington, the celebration. we have dr. martin luther king's speech yesterday, but i want to show -- i'm sorry. we don't have that sound, but what i do have is the information that john boehner and eric cantor were invited to be there, and they decided not to be there. mlk was a registered republican, wasn't he? >> according to one family member. >> his father was. >> his father was. >> why would republicans take a distant a
is someone very close to top al qaeda leadership and was once osama bin laden's secretary. lastly, the group in yemen has been attacked quite aggressively by yemeni fources and saudi forces and american drones and therefore is looking for an opportunity for revenge. >> nbc's richard engel reporting in cairo. thank you. >>> joining to us continue this conversation is democratic senator from oregon, jeff markly. senator, good to have you here. obviously, as we have been talking about off the top of this hour it's the new normal of what is taking place in relation to the embassy closings. i want to play more from what we heard from richard haass this morning on "morning joe." >> this is not an exception. this is in some ways the inevitable result of a middle east that is increasely careening out of control and the problem is not strong governments but weak governments who are not in control of large things that go on within their boardses. >> so talking there about the weak governments. again, to remind everybody whether it comes to our embassies we rely heavily on the country's courtesy where
zawahiri took over from osama bin laden gave the order for a series of attacks and assigned his most effectivivee ivive ivin to do this. the attack was intended to take place on the night of destiny which was on sunday. it is the holiest day of the holy month of ramadan and it is a day that is used -- been used in the past by al qaeda and other militant groups to try to inspire their followers that if they are going to do it during ramadan they may as well do it on the holiest day. the question is, obviously, that attack didn't happen. when do you dial back? do you wait through the end of ramadan which is going to come just in a couple of days? do you continue this level of alert through the holiday which is the feast which follows the months of fasting of ramadan? so i think right now, we are seeing precautionary measures because we don't know when to stop this thing and when does the threat expire? maybe it doesn't. >> richard, thanks so much. >>> i want to bring in democratic congressman adam shift of california, a member of the intelligence committee. sir, good to have you here.
in places even if osama bin laden is not. one other point in there that is not discussed is central africa and what is going on there. >> and malwi and nigeria. >> how does the president need to come out of this to gain credibility and not letting as the congressman said every death spot around the world to utilize destruction. >> that is the quandary he finds himself. this is a president who he first was in power put his faith in word. he thought he could talk the world down from the -- and to some degree, his hands were tied. america was going through an economic crisis. it was extended in two foreign wars. so words were the only real weapon he had at the time. he extended rhetorically an open hand to some of the dictators in the region. they responded with a closed fist. so now he finds himself in a position he has to act and ironically, he has put himself in that position to some degree with saying assad has to go and saying a red line if assad uses chemical weapons against his own people, there will be consequences. the president's own words now force him into action. it's hard to see
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